Tuesday, June 18, 2013

More Than Just a Recipe

  For me, recipes are a bit of a diary.  
A history of my life in the kitchen. 
 After ten years of marriage, my recipe book, 
with pockets categorized for different foods, 
is spreading to great proportions.  
Someday I should reorganize it and the tasty ideas inside. 

I’ve been noticing a trend though, that makes
 me a little sad.  
More of my recipes have gone from
 looking like this:

To this.
Not a whole lot of character or personality going on here. 
No memories or meaning either. 
 I just copied and pasted a recipe from some random place on the web.   
I love the convenience of just googling for ingredients
 or whatever I’m thinking of trying, 
but there’s a lack of the human touch there. 

  At Christmastime I wanted to make the Coconut Cake. 
The cake that our neighbor lady, Mrs. Nixon
 (a most amazing southern cook!) 
brought to our family every Christmas when I was a kid.  
Oh, the deliciousness, with true mounds of fluffy,
 not-too-sweet frosting and freshly grated coconut
 so thick it was literally falling off in piles on the cake plate!  
I asked my mamma for the recipe and, 
rather than copy all the ingredients,
 (of which there are plenty) 
she just dug the recipe out and gave it to me from her little file drawer 
that she’s had since she was first married.
 (If she would’ve left those orange and green mushrooms
 on that box when she refinished the wood, it would be back in style.) 

  The Coconut Cake recipe is beautiful. 
It’s covered with greasy spots that have become darker with time. 
Mrs. Nixon’s generous handwriting 
covers the entire 8 ½ by 11 inch page.  
(She wrote like she cooked – with abundance. 
The thickest hamburger I’ve ever eaten was one she made.  
And after she'd fried the barely flattened patty, 
she cut a good sized tomato into three slices 
and topped the burgers with it.  
My eyes must’ve been popping, but I didn’t say a word!) 
 And most interestingly, when I turned the page over,
 I saw she’d used a scrap paper that was a piece of junk mail
 from H&R Block dated 1987. 

  This is history and personality in my hands.
  This is what cooking should be – one neighbor sharing with another, 
one friend giving another that delicious new recipe everyone
 was raving about at the carry-in last Sunday. 

  So even though I’ll still run to my computer and google search 
what I’m looking for, then copy and paste
 in the boring Times New Roman font,
 I want to make it a point to leave history behind me.  
I want to collect magazine recipes 
whose beautiful food photos will soon look outdated. 
I want to write my own recipe creations with a pen
 on papers that tell a story. 
(I’ve been known to grab one of my kid’s drawings and
 scribble on the back of it – don’t tell ‘em!) 
I want to have recipe cards that say “From the Kitchen of…” 
with a real friend’s name on it.

  So here’s one of my favorite recipes for
Stuffed French Toast, written with my own
uneven penmanship,  scanned and ready to print.
 (Click here for a printable card.)  Yes it will be ink
 from your printer instead of a pen,
but it’s from me to you! J

  Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

 Psalm 36:5-6 

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